Catch up on the Connections Webinar

If you missed our webinar on connections – we’ve written up this blog to share the details, Q&A and upload the presentation slides and audio recording. We have separated the presentation visuals and sound for ease of following due to the live technical glitches and delays. 

Presentation slides

Audio recording

The panel of speakers begins 15 minutes into the webinar.

15:00 Craig van Rooyen – Tour d’ Afrique

24:00 Erica Gardner – New Frontiers

33:00 Chris McIntyre – Expert Africa

46:00 Terri Boshoff – Wetu

52:00 Nicole Kanz – The Elewana Collection

1:00 Questions

 

In this webinar blog, we’ll introduce you to ResRequest’s online sales options and then focus on why connections are important to the trade. We spice things up even more when each of our panelists responds to questions we’ve put forward to them. Questions that address what makes connections so important to their business model.

We’ll start with the basics. The screen you’re looking at shows a room inventory on ResRequest’s availability calendar.

 

Your inventory is set up in ResRequest and adjusts as your team books, blocks or cancels bookings. This means ResRequest is your inventory hub and we see it as our responsibility to make sure that your sales partners can easily check your availability and rates, and make bookings.

 

 

When you implement an online sales strategy you should consider three target markets. They are:

  • Your direct customers who enjoy shopping on your website
  • Agents who would like to buy and sell your product and who prefer instant response rather than delayed communication with your res office
  • and mass market Online Travel Agents like Expedia and Booking.com who depend on online responsiveness

Direct bookings

Direct online customers are a priority for us. We are constantly upgrading our booking plugin, ResNova, and enhancing our booking form which are ideal tools for this sector. Our booking tool for direct customers gives your online guests the ability to book directly from your website. They get an instant response and result – which is what online shoppers expect.

 

OTAs

 

For Online Travel Agent sites, we support a connection to Expedia which is further extended to Hotel.com and Venere.com. Our connection to Booking.com is complete and currently in certification with them. We also support 100s of OTA platforms via channel managers.

 

But these are not the only agents who work with online programmes, traditional trade agents have extended their business models to include online bookings to ensure they’re able to capture guests searching on the internet. These agents specialise in different locations which makes holiday shopping a breeze for customers looking for an experienced-based trip. This is definitely a market you should be working with. And how can you work with this market?

 

Agent connections

 

One of the great features of ResRequest is that it is a cloud-hosted application. This means you can give your agent a login so they can check your inventory, rates and make bookings. It’s a manual connection but something you absolutely should make use of to support agents that work with manual or isolated systems.

 

But what about agents that do have an in-house software application? These agents don’t want to be routed to a manual login or re-routed to different web sites to find out rates, check availability or secure bookings. These agents have implemented in-house solutions to be competitive in the online space. To have that competitive edge, they need instant access to availability and rates for quick quoting and they need to be able to make a booking to close the sale before their customers go Googling. They need to bypass human interaction at the transaction level.

 

Many of these agents also extend their booking services to a web interface offering a B2B2C platform. This is to ensure they can service online shoppers, much like OTAs, but with their specialised knowledge and skills translated onto their website.

 

We generally see that agents with high volume profiles have automated in-house and online solutions.They do need to be a certified integration partner of ours for you to connect their system to your ResRequest system.

 

We have direct electronic connections to over 40 specialist agents and online travel agents and the list is growing…

 

So how do these connections work?

ResRequest connections

An API, which is an application program interface, is simply an interface that allows two systems to communicate with each other. So, with our API, and some custom development, we are able to connect your ResRequest system to your agent’s in-house system.

 

If you’re still asking yourself: “Why would my agents need an electronic connection?”

 

A reminder of the two strongest motivators: The first is that many specialist agents now incorporate an online sales model – so they can attract travellers 24 x 7, essentially competing with OTAs like Booking.com and Expedia. This model needs an automated booking engine in order to satisfy their online shopper. To support automation, connections are needed.


The second reason agents need connections is that some agents have implemented an in-house system to speed up their business processes. Their holy grail is fast quoting and sale closure. Implementing a connection between your ResRequest inventory, rates and bookings and these agent’s systems, generate sales for you more easily which means you keep doing business with them.

 

A question we’re often asked is: “Can I control what these “connections” can see and do in our system?” Absolutely! Each connection is linked to a user you create in ResRequest with controlled access.

 

Questions that we posed to our agent panelists:

  • What’s changed to make online sales more important?
  • Why do agents need to see availability, rates and make bookings?
  • What are the essential components for connections to work for you?
  • What frustrations do you have with the industry or technology?

 

Questions that we asked our customers – safari accommodation providers:

  • What impact has using API connections had on your business?
  • What would you say to other suppliers who are unsure about working with connections?

 

Questions that were asked during the session:

Q: How do you handle waitlist in your system?

A: Erica – Waitlisting is a challenge. We can hold a waitlist booking, however, we prefer to hold a confirmed reservation. It is also a manual process.

ResRequest – From a software perspective, an agent who makes a booking and exceeds the number of rooms available has to give a reason when holding the rooms. This will automatically be created as a Waitlist booking.

 

Please note: Even if ResRequest supports certain functionality in the API – the agent buyer who has done the development to their system may have opted out of some of the available functions as they do not require them for their business practice.

 

Q: Does it help to see ‘‘provisionals’?

A: Yes – it is very helpful for agents to see if provisionals are being held when they view your availability. This will encourage them to still consider your property rather that look somewhere else when your lodge appears full. They cannot see the actual booking details, only that provisionals are being held on the dates that are search for.

 

Q: How much would the operator see if they were given access?

A: You can fully control the access that you grant to an operator, ie: view / read only or create bookings / update. You can also limit the properties, room types and even the number of rooms at room type level. Also the rates that are only applicable to a specific agent can be shown.

 

Q: Is a email notification sent once a booking has been made by an agent?

A: It all depends on what development has been done. Our API has the information available for a notification to be generated however if an email notification is not set up then a ResRequest customer would only see incoming bookings via the Req Received button / report in their system.

 

Q: How do you deal with different rates for same rooms, i.e. International vs SADC?

A: Multiple rates can be assigned to an agent contact and toggled to select the correct rate for quoting or booking.

 

Craig – In Tourplan we always load our contracted rates first. If we don’t see the correct rate, then we sometimes need to query this – however if multiple rate categories are given ie: STO, RACK and BAR then we have more options to book the property. Please note: We can only hold confirmed bookings and cancel a booking in Tourplan. We do not see any Waitlists or Provisionals, so unless you are going to oversell your property and make more rooms available we are limited in what we can book. Bigger properties tend to oversell.

 

Q: Can you only look up the availability of a specific camp or supplier?  

A: Yes

 

Q: Is there any way to look up availability of a region and show results of multiple camps?

A: Not at this stage with this type of direct connection.

 

Q: Is there an API adaptor to get rates of the camp via ResRequest and upload these into a system like Tourplan?

A: We do support and send rates via ResConnect. Our Channel Manager and OTA interfaces support bulk rate push, this is developed to map to the OTA’s / Channel Manager’s interface.

 

Q: Does ResConnect offer a Close To Arrival (CTA) tool within the API to reduce dead nights?

A: Not yet! We’ll get to this.

 

Q: Is there a way to filter Wetu properties based on availability?

A: Not currently. Availability is not a searchable feature in Wetu.

 

Q: Do you need to be on a higher package to get the Live Availability option in Wetu, or can anyone listed on WETU have access to this tool?

A: Two part answer here:

  1. As a Supplier: you do not need to be on a higher package to show availability for your property, however, each supplier needs to opt into showing the availability with their relative availability provider. It is not something that is automatically activated.
  2. As an Operator: you do not need to be on the highest package to see the live availability of the properties who do have it.

 

Q: Are the users of Tourplan happy with the ‘confirmed’ only status they offer when connecting via API ResResquest?

A: Tourplan do not currently cater for provisional bookings; however, our API does support provisionals.

How to get connected?

 

Now that you know more about the importance of this space for your business you’re probably asking: “What do I do next?”

Here’s all you need to know about getting direct connections set up. All you need to do is email us and one of our connections team will confirm all the setup details, such as the user permissions for the connecting agent. This setup takes approx.1 hour and is charged at our standard support rate.

 

Some agents only have view functionality enabled, however, more and more operators are moving towards wanting to create bookings. So, if they are able to create bookings they will request this access. It is up to you to decide on the permission you wish to grant, however we do encourage legitimate confirmed bookings to be held where possible.

If you have any questions about this process please drop us a line

For the full version of the webinar – you can find it uploaded onto YouTube here.

ResNova website plugin just got better!

ResNova, our website booking plugin, has had a facelift. That’s right – we’ve released some enhancements so you have even more display options when it comes to this nifty availability and booking tool.

The ResNova plugin enables properties that use ResRequest to embed availability and rates anywhere on their website. This availability and these rates can be shown either in a calendar matrix or a quick search format, or even both! You have the option of just showing availability, or enabling bookings, and even linking up to a payment gateway to enable payments during the booking process. All of this is seamlessly integrated to a ResRequest reservation system.

The latest enhancements to the website plugin include: showing rates on the calendar, setting a ‘No children’ option and showing an availability count.

Some properties that don’t offer a child rate need their customers to know this. They may be able to accommodate children in some rooms, but not all, so they can apply the ‘No children’ setting to each property and room individually.

Along with other customisable functionality in the calendar widget you can choose to show your actual availability or limit your availability, e.g. to 2, so users can see some space is available without displaying your exact availability.

We are continually developing and adding new features to this much-needed industry tool.  For more information on the ResNova website plugin or to find out about using ResRequest contact us on info@resrequest.com and you may be able to take advantage of this plugin.

 

Digitlab Digital Marketing Trends workshop

ResRequest Digitlab

Have you ever thought about how certain adverts appear in your social media feed or why Youtube has so many video adverts? These are all signs of the current digital marketing trends.

Members of our marketing team attended a workshop hosted by Digitlab. With a focus on digital storytelling and digital marketing, the event kicked off with a session on video and storytelling. The elements of the story were likened to a Trojan horse. A story is a means to get people’s attention and the message is embedded in the story. All good stories also have a clear beginning and end. Video is one of the growing trends in digital marketing trends and the session progressed.

Virtual reality is another trend that is becoming more predominant as a sales strategy. Businesses can create an online virtual reality experience which allows customers to see what the product or service will be like.

Programmatic buying using data to drive specific products to customers by gathering data on their interests and needs through their interactions.

This leads us on to big brands which are the brands what collect this data by enabling people to interact on their platform, and thus gather data based on people’s behaviour.

Finally AI, or artificial intelligence, is using technology to mimic human intelligence to allow marketers the opportunity to reach segmented audiences through using AI. For example, AI can analyse people’s search patterns on search engines to allow marketers to place their adverts for maximum exposure. Chat functions on websites are also an example AI.

Digital trends are increasingly a part of marketing, and recognising this and taking advantage of the trends can only be helpful to any marketer.

Password choices

ResRequest-password choices

How many times a day are you asked for your password? We have so many passwords that it’s hard to remember them all, albeit impossible. It sometimes seems simpler to have the same password across multiple sites, or to create an easy to remember password. However, password hacking is an increasingly common and dangerous threat. A hacked password can mean compromised financial security on your online banking, confidential email leaks or identity theft.

 

It is clear then that choosing a password is key, but what makes a good password?

 

It seems obvious but don’t choose a password that contains elements such as your name, birthdate, surname or simple number combinations such as 1,2,3 or 0, 0, 0, 0. Any password that your family could guess is a weak password so keep obvious personal information out of your passwords.

 

A good password is between 8 and 10 characters long. These days most passwords require a combination of numbers, letters and special characters. Make your password as long as possible as longer passwords are more secure.

 

Use spaces in your password. Most sites don’t allow for a traditional space but use the underscore key to add a space to your password.

 

If you prefer your passwords to derive from words, use a combination of words to create a password, as opposed to using one word as your password. For example, if your children are Jane (age 8), Michael (age 10) and Connor (age 3), your password could combine the first two letters of their names, their age and the year, eg, Ja8Mi10Co32017.

 

Alternatively create password using a sentence, for example The house is on Main Street could become ThHoIsOnMaSt.

 

Store your passwords away from your computer so that you will always be able to access them. Consider writing them in code so they are harder to decipher should they be found. For example, you could code the following password tki86H:k as vmk108J:m. In this code, each character has been replaced by the character two ahead, eg t becomes v. You could add ‘2’ before the coded password to remind yourself, eg. 2vmk108J:m

 

Once you have a strong password that is securely stored, don’t share it with anyone! Keep your passwords private, even from family.

 

By taking this advice, your passwords should be secure and your accounts safe from hackers.

ResRequest and Expedia are now connected

ResRequest-Expedia

We have some exciting news! Expedia, the world’s largest online travel company, now has a connection to ResRequest. ResRequest is constantly improving its product and connectivity between suppliers and buyers is a strategic focus. With our new Expedia connection, properties using ResRequest to manage their reservations can now connect directly to Expedia without a channel manager. 

 

Connections allow us to increase our client’s sales and improve business efficiency. Connections between the supplier and buyer mean that rates, availability, and bookings can be distributed electronically. Our connection to Expedia gives our customers the ability to sell their stock on Expedia partner platforms including Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Orbitz, Egencia, Hotwire, Trivago, Venere.com and several Expedia-affiliate channels.


The Expedia connection process is simple. Contact Expedia to register and specify that you’d like the Expedia connection to ResRequest (email Neil or Darren). Once the commercial agreements are in place with Expedia, our support centre connects your ResRequest and Expedia system together. Your rates and availability are distributed and updated on Expedia, directly from ResRequest. Bookings made by Expedia are automatically highlighted in ResRequest for your central reservation team to review, along with an email. All you need to do is manage your profile information on Expedia – they’re really helpful and have a team to assist with these housekeeping items.


There is no recurring fee for this connection. ResRequest does not charge commission for bookings made by Expedia. A once off setup fee of approximately 1 hour is billed at our standard data set up rates which are R390 / $40 per hour for 2017.

 

You can track the success of the connection as bookings are automatically linked to an Expedia agent and an Expedia source. Your marketing team can run their favourite report to track bed nights, yield, average length of stay and revenue filtered or grouped by the Expedia agent or source.

 

Customers have already started using the connection. We have over 40 properties active with the ResRequest-Expedia connection.

 

Join this growing number of customers and start selling your bed nights fast and easily!

Explore the online travel space with Stride Travel

ResRequest-Stride Travel

Jared Alster- Stride TravGrowing a travel business in today’s environment is challenging. Travelers have more choice than ever when it comes to booking a tour, safari or adventure vacation and the internet and social media has delivered huge amounts of travel-related content direct to consumers.

But how does a tour operator ensure that their brand breaks through all the chatter? What’s the most efficient way for a travel supplier to acquire new customers? If you have a significant marketing budget, Google and Facebook are both great options. However, for smaller operators with tight budgets or lack of marketing expertise, online distribution can be daunting.

That’s why Stride Travel was created. Stride Travel is an online marketplace for multi-day tours and organised travel. Stride is the first website to enable users to search and read reviews for all professionally planned trips – from traditional group tours and private guided safaris, to independent itineraries and small ship cruises.

Currently, travellers can search Stride’s comprehensive database of over 10,000 trips to 130+ countries from 500+ operators.

Tour operators view Stride as a unique marketing distribution channel.  Unlike online travel agencies and packagers, Stride’s meta search model highlights travel brands rather than hiding them. Stride’s open business model aligns their interests with those of operators and travellers by transparently matching travellers with their perfect tour company.

Many large and niche operators, such as G Adventures, Rothschild Safaris, and Butterfield & Robinson, have partnered with Stride because the business model has minimal up-front costs and provides significant upside in driving new customers.

Today’s consumers expect to be able to read reviews and easily compare options on any major purchase. Adventurous, international vacations are no exception. Yet today, the major travel review websites do not have a category for reviews on multi-day tours and operators.

Stride alleviates this issue and provides operators with a trusted third party platform on which to display traveler reviews and ratings. Stride’s research shows that travellers are up to eight times as likely to trust reviews found on a neutral 3rd party site vs. direct on an operator’s website.

If you’d like to learn more about how Stride can help grow your business, they’d love to hear from you. Please contact Stride.

Clean it up

ResRequest- clean text

You’ve probably heard of plain text and rich text but do you know the difference and the effects of each one? In ResRequest, many modules use plain text to sort and store information and so making sure your information is in plain text is important.

 

What does it mean when we say rich text?

 

Documents created in applications such as Microsoft Word and Google Docs automatically add extra features such as fonts, spacing and capitalisation. This formatting adds code, or special characters, to the text and creates what is termed rich text because it has this extra, hidden formatting.

 

How does this affect you in ResRequest?

 

Have you ever had a problem where your rooming calendar locked down, rates were displaying incorrectly on an external connection or even where a guest contact name was randomly showing on the description of an extra? These are all examples of the effect of using rich text with special characters in the ResRequest system.

 

What can you do to avoid special character issues?

 

This is frustrating for you as a client and causes delays as we resolve the problem. Fortunately, there is a solution for which we can thank Jonathan Hedley at Amazon (thanks Jono!). Jonathon created a web-based tool which converts text to plain text very easily!

 

Below are the easy steps to follow to convert any text to plain text. You can then use this plain text in the ResRequest system without any hassles!

 

Step 1:

Go to Jonathan’s site, Convert Microsoft Word to Plain Text

Step 2:

Copy the rich text and paste it into the first window.

Screen Shot 2017-02-16 at 10.46.46 AM

Step 3:

Hit the clean button.

Screen Shot 2017-02-16 at 10.48.57 AM

Step 4:

Copy the ‘clean’, plain text from the bottom window and paste it into the relevant ResRequest field.

 

Step 5:

If there has been a loss of spacing or capital letters, you can edit it accordingly.

 

Step 6:

You’re done!

 

The most important area in ResRequest where you need to use plain text is your ResNova plugin. Copying text directly to ResNova from Microsoft Word or Google Docs will cause broken links and disrupt the functionality of ResNova. Populating your ResNova plugin popups with clean text can be done easily on the ResRequest business structure. Watch a tutorial on how to do this – bearing in mind what you now know about cleaning rich text!

 

The conversion to plain text is vitally important and we hope that this blog will assist you in converting your text, preventing errors and ensuring smooth ResRequest functionality.

 

e-Commerce Strategy

ecommerce banner

Written by Jill Bennett-Howes

Online selling is a very exciting area to add to your sales strategy. We’ve seen many of our customers celebrate increased profits when they implement and manage an effective online strategy.

Key elements for your eCommerce strategy

Each element will need effort from your team to prepare the strategy, implement, maintain and review it – we call this the PACstrat (of course I couldn’t resist slipping in that bit of Pacman-geek-speak!).

With an effective eCommerce strategy and a dedicated team, increased profits result through new sales and/or through more efficient business procedures.

The importance of an eCommerce strategy

You have plans for increased profits but where will your increased profits come from? Whether it’s increased sales through new channels, closing sales or working more cost effectively, a very likely source of your increased profits will come from a well managed e-commerce strategy.

Online booking words like Look To Book, Credit Cards, OTAs, GDS’ and Channel Managers very quickly get marketing and sales teams dreaming up these profits and increased occupancies. Their enthusiasm is catchy – but plug those buzz words into Google, hit enter and the volumes of search results leave you feeling like there’s not enough bandwidth on your laptop – let alone enough to get your eCommerce strategy up and running.

With this being such an overwhelming business strategy, hoteliers often make the fatal mistake of approaching eCommerce as a sales after-thought or a fishing expedition. They think that randomly implementing a few connections and a few technologies will bring the profits they seek – and they often come miserably short. They celebrate the ad hoc booking instead of comparing it with all their overall sales strategies. These customers rarely claim true online profits – in fact many of them go horribly wrong and just confuse the market or create price disparity which weakens their product and can negatively impact other carefully nurtured sales strategies.

Implementing and deploying an eCommerce strategy is a business decision – one that’s as important as your existing sales strategy. It needs a dedicated team to workshop, manage, track and refine your eCommerce plans.

So, whether your focus is maximising direct sales or making working with your partners more efficient, you’ll need to: define an eCommerce strategy, add technology to achieve it and allocate resources to ensure that you get the profits your marketing and sales teams promise. This means you have a lot of work ahead of you.

As the online inventory and availability distribution hub, ResRequest plays a key role in working with our partners and customers to identify online booking options that work for you.

To help you kickstart your blueprint to success, we have identified the online booking options available to you, their pitfalls, successes and general industry trends.

Distribution Options

Your website. Your investment in a great web design is to excite customers about your product and lead them to buy. Once your customer has made a commitment to purchase, they ask for price and availability, which culminates in a sale. For this reason close to 90% of our clients proactively engage in showing rates and availability on their website.

Luxury / remote lodges have been less confident of the value of creating bookings and processing credit cards directly from their website. Reasons for look-to-book reluctance includes fears that guests will not be able to arrange complicated transfers. In addition lodges are concerned that automating bookings sidesteps the value of building a relationship between the customer and their product. To top these concerns, many lodges are wary of how trade partners may react to them openly targeting the direct market. As a result of these concerns for many years we saw a trend of caution to creating bookings online. Many customers only displayed availability with easy-to-use enquiry forms – but this trend is changing.

Online consumers expect to be able to book online and they trust that you have implemented solutions to make their booking uncomplicated and to resolve any potential challenges. As this expectation has changed so our customers have found ways to counter online booking challenges, they’ve implemented simpler online rates, easy booking forms and resolved transfer concerns with online or central reservations solutions.

Your business partners. Over time, marketing groups have formed with the objective of stimulating travel in niche markets – sort of stitching itineraries together. Some of these groups are commercial ventures, while others are informal associations born from like-minded neighbouring properties. Over the last few years we have seen an increase in interest for marketing groups and regional availability, where independent / neighbouring properties are interested in publishing availability on a collaborative web-page. This is a market sector that is growing in popularity and benefits both direct guests and travel trade.

Specialist agents. Ask any agent or tour operator and they will tell you that a large portion of their success is the skill with which they are able to quickly prepare a customised itinerary. Giving specialist agents access to your stock means that agents are able to prepare and respond to requests for quotations faster then their competitors. More then 90% of our clients allow agents to access stock with their own ResRequest login, with close to 20% allowing agents to create bookings directly into their ResRequest system.

To enable agents with their own systems to electronically extract rate and availability from multiple clients, we have developed an auxiliary product, ResConnect. Approximately 90% of our clients have established relationships with our agent partners who use ResConnect. Many of our ResConnect partners display availability directly on their website in order to compete with OTAs and GDS’. If you’re considering working with OTAs and GDS’ you should definitely be considering giving your loyal travel partners controlled access to their rates and your availability.

Online Travel Agents (OTAs) / Global Distribution Systems (GDS). Travel sites reported significant 2014 revenues: Expedia $5.7 billion, Amadeus at E1,3 billion. With revenues like these it is understandable that every hotel would love to tap into those markets. So why are remote hotels cautious of tapping into these very lucrative channels?

Concerns include the effect of boycotts by specialist travel agents and tour operators. Lodges also fear that channels will create a price war climate that will ultimately result in cheapening their products and forcing rack rates to drop. In addition lodges have logistical fears that these channels may have no concern for the guest’s knowledge or ability to transfer to and from complicated, remote locations.

Over the last few years we have seen many customers tap successfully into these channels. It takes effort and evidence shows that once the connection is established, and the right marketing effort is applied, the results are well worth it. As more products become available on these channels we expect to see OTAs and GDS’ introducing ways to help remote travellers with complicated transfers – for now it’s not a problem at all – our customers playing in this space simply make the transfer arrangements as an added on service to the traveller.

You may ask, how much effort is really needed for an online channel to sell my product? Getting return from this sales sector takes a lot of resources, time and work. Consider each travel portal as a new business relationship except, unlike traditional agents, you need to manage your own rates, your online listing and you need to learn how each travel portal works so that you can optimise sales over your competitor’s listings. Start with a few channels and, once you’ve monitored the trends and your team are experienced in working with this space, start expanding to more relevant portals.

So how does ResRequest make this happen?

ResRequest covers all your distribution needs with our own direct connections and via channel managers. The diagram below illustrates our distribution blueprint.

 

ResRequest ecommerce

ONLINE OPTIONS

Online bookings are about reaching online customers and working more efficiently with your business partners through electronic connections.

What’s available?

ResRequest’s Online Bookings module lets you connect to online users electronically; distribute your availability and rates, and make bookings through online channels and your own website. Your online strategy will include one or many of the online services available to you in ResRequest. Some of these connections are direct and some are available through our Channel Manager partners.

DIRECT SALES
Ideal for your online-savvy clients and repeat customers.

Show availability and rates on your own website and give your customers the ability to ‘book and pay now’.

Your website:

1. ResRequest: Brand and use ResRequest’s online booking form and credit card gateway, or let your web designer use our interface (API) to develop your own booking form on your website. Alternatively use our booking widget, ResNova, on your WordPress or general website.

2. Channel manager: offer a direct booking form available via any of our partners channel manager.

FaceBook: Add a booking widget to your Facebook page using some of our preferred Channel Managers. A ResRequest widget for FaceBook.

TripAdvisor: Via selected Channel Managers, list your stock alongside popular OTA’s to increase your chance of a booked next to your ratings.

Circuits: Using the ResRequest interface (API) create circuit bookings within your own products or collaborating with other ResRequest properties.

SELL TO YOUR TOP AGENTS
Help your top agents compete with online travel agents by giving them an online edge.

Give your selected agents access to ResRequest with a secure login.

Give your preferred agents controlled access to ResRequest by adding them as a ResRequest user. Let them lookup availability and make bookings to increase their chance to quote quickly and book efficiently.

SELL TO AFRICA’S TOP AGENTS
Distribute your stock to Africa’s top safari agents.

Connect your stock and bookings to specialist agents and tour operators using our electronic connection programme, ResConnect.

Sign up as a ResConnect customer through our call centre. A ResRequest user is created with restricted permissions. The user is linked to each ResConnect partner via our bridge.

SELL VIA OTAs and GDS’ (Online Travel Agents & Global Distribution Systems)

Connect to OTAs and GDS’ and leverage access to thousands of global agents and travellers who are searching for a safari vacation.
Use our Channel Manager partners to distribute your inventory and rates and make bookings to OTAs like Expedia, bookings.com or GDS’ like Pegasus and Sabre. Our Channel Manager partners include: Nightsbridge and SynXis.

Select the Channel Manager that suits your distribution needs, budget and reach. Your account is setup with the channel and then we connect ResRequest for you. The last step is that you manage your profile and rates on your preferred travel sites.

 

Proactive Reservations | Managing your reservations & maximising your channels

What do you do if your establishment is too small to rent or manage a reservation software solution?

Have a look at Proactive Reservations has to offer…

Proactive Reservations have years of combined international and local experience in various hospitality and tourism positions and offer in depth knowledge of all aspects of front office, hotel reservations and tour operating. Their team members have worked for a number of highly regarded companies and offers expertise in:

• Hotel openings

• Property management system set ups

• Set up and implementation of standard operating procedures

• Product and content implementation

• Set up and managing of Channel Managers

• Set up and managing of OTA’s

• Revenue Management

• Training of staff

They pride themselves on their quality service delivery and providing a means of maximising your revenue opportunities for your property.

SERVICES

Implementation and Management of OTA channels

By providing a simple streamlined process for all distribution updates so hoteliers can minimise errors for channel management and in this way, increase revenue. They manage the online profiles and implement a revenue strategy on behalf of the property or marketing team, along with uploading of information and new set up required and can continuously monitor what the OTA partners are introducing and what the trends are showing.

Implementation and recommendations of systems

Proactive Reservations implement and recommend the best systems for each individual property which leads to a better user experience and increased sales.

Training of Reservations staff

Training your staff can improve business performance, profit and staff morale. Giving them the tools to contribute to the business and building their self-esteem will improve productivity and customer service. A reservations audit is done on the processes applied within the day to day running of the property and recommendations on improvements are made. Furthermore, they can facilitate training on time management, telephone etiquette, email correspondence with the customer and more.

Reservations recruitment

Assisting with the placement of the right candidate with the correct experience to match the property requirements is another one of the many services they provide.

BOOKINGS TO COMPLEMENT YOUR REVENUE STRATEGY

Online distribution is key to maximise your revenue opportunities. Reach across multiple channels and platforms.

CHANNEL MANAGERS

In order to maximise the effectiveness of listing on various booking sites, Proactive Reservations recommend that all clients utilise the integration of channel managers. These channel managers provide the capability of accurate availability being displayed and ensuring the property is available to be booked. Through their partnerships with some of the world’s leading travel and tourism organisations, they can guarantee improved online visibility.

The team at Proactive Reservations facilitate and manage the engagement with the OTA partners and set up new agreements on behalf of clients and upload images, text, packages, special offers and standard rates.

 

For more info or a quotation contact Joanne: info@proactive-reservations.com

What are connections?

ResRequest connections

logo-band

To be competitive in an increasingly online and automated space, Safari Agents and Tour Operators have implemented software applications that manage their business needs. A software application is the first part of their solution, the second part is electronic access to your system (to view rates and availability and make bookings) so they can prepare quotes and book directly from their solution. This process saves time and helps them compete with online agents.

What does a Tour Operator get with access to rates, availability and booking?

  • The ability to compete with online travel agents
  • Agents can effortlessly build itineraries
  • Prepare quotes quickly, in any time zone
  • Confirm bookings in a few quick steps

What’s your part in this?
Electronically connecting your agent (the buyer) to you (the supplier) is a change in the traditional way of making a booking. Agents are improving the tools they use to book so they can be more competitive, responsive and offer dynamic pricing. The booking process is changing from phone calls and several emails to using automated electronic bookings from systems designed to give Agents a competitive advantage. Your part is to recognise that your agent needs your support to leverage this competitive advantage.

What agents already use this connection to ResRequest?
Specialist agents like, Expert Africa, Bushtracks Expeditions, Go2Africa, African Eagle, Wetu and Wilderness Safaris have developed connections to ResRequest through ResConnect. As agents recognise the power in this connection, more and more have signed up to ResConnect to make it possible to sell Africa’s finest properties using their business tools.

Tourplan operators are also able to connect directly to your stock. The following agents using the Tourplan system are now able to connect to our ResRequest customers and will be requesting booking access permission: African Ample Assistance, Abenteuer Afrika Safari, Africa Travel Group, Cheli & Peacock, Discover Africa Group, Elewana Travel Ltd, Inspirations Travel & Tours, Jenman African Safaris, Live the Journey, New Frontiers, Personal Africa Travel, Safari Destinations, Springbok Atlas – South Africa, Tour d’Afrique, Team DM UK, Tourvest Holdings Brasil Eventos S.A., Sense of Africa, Tourvest Destination Management, Travel Wild Botswana, Uitkyk Holidays, Vintage Africa, Wild Africa Travel, XO Africa Travel and &BEYOND.

What are the steps to connect?
Once an agent has developed a connection between their booking system and ResRequest they will request permission to access your properties. You or our call centre setup their user account and you define what they can see and do in your ResRequest system. Our call centre then links this user to the agent’s ResConnect account which enables them to electronically connect to your rates, availability and make bookings.

We have recommended to ResConnect agents that only confirmed bookings are booked, however each relationship will need to be managed on a case by case basis.

How the setup works:
When you allow an agent to create bookings, the ‘Req Received’ button (at the top right corner of your screen) will flash and show the number of bookings received. These bookings need to be assigned to a consultant and checked.

Do we support editing and cancellations?
We do not support edits to bookings, however when amendments or cancellations are requested, an email will be generated to the supplier.

Will implementing an electronic connection change the relationship with your agent?
No – you’ll still work with your agent as a human – you’ll still meet with them at trade shows and sales visits, but the actual booking creation can be electronic.

Will this help you sell more bed nights?
Absolutely! New agents you have not worked with, will be signing with your property and existing agents, who prefer an automated booking process, will electronically incorporate your property into their itinerary building.

Can you control what the agent can see and do in ResRequest?
Yes, an agent will only see rates and room types allocated to their user profile and they can only look up availability and make bookings if you say they can.

Should you consider limiting an agent’s user access?
Limiting the agents electronic access is like owning a Ferrari and not adding the petrol. When we launched ResConnect 10 years ago, Agents only wanted a way to check availability and rates but now the trend is to create and cancel bookings. Why? Because it saves so much time and improves efficiency for your agent. It gives them a competitive advantage over other online sales platforms.

What happens if agents start booking and cancelling frequently?
Electronic connectivity makes checking availability and making bookings so easy that it will very likely be tempting for your agent to frequently hold space and cancel. Initially some agents may not realise this makes more work for you. Remember to set your reservations that don’t materialise to ‘Deleted’ and if your agent’s actions are causing more work for you – show your agent their conversion stats and ask them to find ways to streamline the process to avoid a negative rating with you.

What can you do if your agent does not have a system but they want a similar competitive advantage?
That’s easy – give them a login to your ResRequest system. Here’s what this means for your agent:

We would love to hear how you benefit from this business to business solution, get in touch if you would like to share your thoughts.